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What Was George Washington's Private Life Like?

Updated 19 Oct 2018 76.5k views14 items

During the American Revolution, newspapers printed sensational stories about George Washington's affairs. An enslaved woman named Venus claimed George fathered her son. And years after his passing, a racy love letter written to a married woman threatened to destroy George's sterling reputation. But what was Washington's private life really like? Was he as virtuous as his reputation? And what about George Washington's children - is it true the man died without ever fathering one?

While the Founding Father often tops lists of the best presidents, he lived an intensely private life and seemed to prefer his rambling plantation, Mount Vernon, to time in the spotlight. 

Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis out of obligation and allegedly remained loyal throughout their marriage, despite his spouse's complaints about feeling trapped in the role of first lady. Meanwhile, Washington spent his personal time breeding mules and putting hundreds of enslaved people to work from dawn until dark. All told, he led a complicated and controversial life.

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